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Windvane pilots vs electric autopilots: all you need to know

Poey50

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26 Apr 2016
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Chichester
We have both on our 32 footer. The motive for fitting our Windpilot Pacific was to undertake long offshore passages but we now use it for any sailing just because of the pleasure of hearing only wind and water. The Raymarine EV100 tiller pilot goes on with the engine. Both excellent bits of kit.
 
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dgadee

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13 Oct 2010
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Why does my wee tiller pilot thing go off wildly after a minute or two? I have done the double circles.
 

Sandy

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31 Aug 2011
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On the Celtic Fringe
My Hydrovane, being fitted this winter (2021/2022) while hoping for easier travel, will be called Hamish as in H for Hydrovane and because of the red windvane. For some reason in my part of the world male (he/him) redheads were often called Hamish.
 

mjcoon

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18 Jun 2011
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Berkshire, UK
My Hydrovane, being fitted this winter (2021/2022) while hoping for easier travel, will be called Hamish as in H for Hydrovane and because of the red windvane. For some reason in my part of the world male (he/him) redheads were often called Hamish.
The colour of ham?
 

Daydream believer

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Southminster, essex
Why does my wee tiller pilot thing go off wildly after a minute or two? I have done the double circles.
One assumes that it did work once & you have done all the set up procedures from the manual :rolleyes:
If it is an electric one with an inbuilt gyro it could be a neoprene seal worn & slipped. It will have moved & is fouling the internal gymballed compass. You need to take it apart & carefully watch how you remove the seals between the 2 halves. Be carefull when displacing any parts. then look at the ram etc & look for seals around it.
I have never done this myself ( I have taken one apart though) but friends have told me that bits get caught in the compass causing the problem you decide.
May be totally wrong; so sorry if it does not work. But, hey!! the autopilot does not work now, so you have little to loose ;)
 

dgadee

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13 Oct 2010
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One assumes that it did work once & you have done all the set up procedures from the manual :rolleyes:
If it is an electric one with an inbuilt gyro it could be a neoprene seal worn & slipped. It will have moved & is fouling the internal gymballed compass. You need to take it apart & carefully watch how you remove the seals between the 2 halves. Be carefull when displacing any parts. then look at the ram etc & look for seals around it.
I have never done this myself ( I have taken one apart though) but friends have told me that bits get caught in the compass causing the problem you decide.
May be totally wrong; so sorry if it does not work. But, hey!! the autopilot does not work now, so you have little to loose ;)
Yes, TP10. Will take it apart as you suggest.
 

Kukri

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East coast UK. Mostly. Sometimes the Philippines

Daydream believer

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Clever trick indeed

> Windvane tricks – Attach a small electric autopilot to create a system that can steer the boat in compass mode

https://barca-a-vela.it/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Piloti-a-vento-Agganciare-un-piccolo-pilota-elettrico-per-creare-una-modalità-bussola.jpg
Some have used it with success, but I rigged it up on my aeries & found the response so slow that I gave up. The boat veered all over the place. In fact yesterday I removed the attachment off the vane arm.
 

dgadee

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The TP10 seal could only do that if the casing was destroyed. I wonder if it's confused about which side of the boat it's mounted on?
I'll be back at it in a couple of weeks or so. Will go over manual and check troubleshooting guide. It's a good few years old but little used. The Seawolf 30 has a very large main and you have to reef way down for these devices to work. Same with the Dehler and hydrovane - at least one reef required in anything but very light winds.
 

Daydream believer

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The Seawolf 30 has a very large main and you have to reef way down for these devices to work. Same with the Dehler and hydrovane - at least one reef required in anything but very light winds.
Which basically says that most of these tiller autopilots are hopelessly underpowered.
As for wind powered my aeries developes enough power( assuming it is windy) such that an adult could not hold against the steering rope for very long, especially once the boat gets to 5-6 kts. One does not need to reduce sail. or worry so much about balance as it has the power. Besides with a ST jib one is not going to do much for balance anyway.
The biggest problem I have is that my boat needs the helm to be "anticipated" for optimum steering & a wind device does not do that. It only responds to what it feels across the vane. I think that the art of anticipation in any sort of sea is something that most helmsmen adopt without realising it. Autopilots do not ( well the 5 I have had ) do not do this. The raymarine av100 is said to do this, but that is a rubbish claim. I think one has to go upmarket & look at the likes of the Figaro fleet for a decent autopilot.
Looking at videos of those in action there does not seem to be a lot of "sail balancing" going on
 

dgadee

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13 Oct 2010
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Which basically says that most of these tiller autopilots are hopelessly underpowered.
Or that boats with big mainsails and tall masts seem to attract me when purchasing. The TP10 is advertised to do boats up to 32 foot which I think is diving into trade description land.
 

Daydream believer

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Or that boats with big mainsails and tall masts seem to attract me when purchasing. The TP10 is advertised to do boats up to 32 foot which I think is diving into trade description land.
It has not really occurred to me that in the last 20 years the masts of 32 ft boats have varied much in height. True motor sailors might be shorter as might ketches. Out & out racing boats might be taller. But do those of the typical AWB vary much these days?
 

Daydream believer

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Or that some boats have too much weather helm and/or crude rudders?

Tillerpilots can't be that hopeless if they've been on the market for so many years.
You only have to look at the problems that the raymarine ST has with water ingress to see that although they may have been on the market for many years, the manufacturers are still churning out a sub standard product. I had to make a cover for mine - as have many owners- because Raymarine say it is the owners fault if they get wet :rolleyes: I would suggest that customers are buying them because they have no viable alternative within their budget & , therefore, have to put up with a second rate product.
Iam just about to order a second ram to my av100 because sounds as if it is about to give up the ghost
 
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